Your Personal Religion (Manimal Vinyl)
Everything that’s wrong with this world and all the people in it, neatly summed up in four minutes and 41 seconds of angsty tunefulness, plus a few noisy bursts of neo- grunge guitar.
Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of something larger than yourself but had not the slightest fucking clue what that should be, Robin Pecknold has written your personal anthem. Happy soul-searching, pilgrims.
Sur La Planche (Third Side)
Crank the spy-movie guitars, surf-rock beat, and twee French-girl vocals, and pretend you’re James Bond, careening through the streets of Paris in a stolen taxi, hot on the heels of the murderous May Day.
I Heard You Say (Polyvinyl)
Well, at least they sound a little bit less like the Shaggs now. Marginally.
Gift of Fury (Trouble & Bass)
At long last, someone has taken the trouble to craft the missing link between Skinny Puppy and Atari Teenage Riot for your piss-off-the-neighbours playlist. Throbbing dubstep beats topped with incoherent screaming? Awesome!
I Know Everything
Based on the convincing shoegazer whirl heard here, either Karachi has a large underground trade in My Bloody Valentine bootlegs or Pakistan’s leaders aren’t quite as good at restricting the Internet as they’d like to be.
Convict Lake (Dead Oceans)
Think Beirut signing up for the baroque-pop cult known as the Polyphonic Spree on a gorgeous spring afternoon in Paris, with the union producing an orchestral strain of undiluted freak pop. Take that, Devendra Banhart.
James Vincent McMorrow
We Don’t Eat (Vagrant)
While most modern soul waters down James Brown, Seal, and that guy with the cornrows who used to beat up the ’hos every time he got into the blow, James Vincent McMorrow keeps thing soft, restrained, and, ultimately, breathtaking.
Shooter Jennings & Hierophant
Fuck You (I’m Famous) (429)
Wondering if Shooter Jennings is still aiming for the cover of No Depression and a spot on Austin City Limits? Evidently that’s all in the past, as Waylon’s little boy cranks up the amps and kicks out the jams with enough blood, sweat, and snot to impress the MC5.
The Waltons (Go-Rock)
Chicken-scratch guitar, cantina accordion, and raised-on-Cracker vocals all add up to the best song about television’s most sickeningly wholesome family since, well, ever.
Dogs Eyes (Merge)
Kind of like Cat Power if Chan Marshall was obsessed with math rock–lite, sea- soned with a ground-up copy of Meat Puppets II. In other words, as weird as it is heavenly.